I know that there are some folks who don’t believe a job description is necessary anymore and of course, that is the decision of the organization to make.
I do believe in job descriptions – and let me tell you why.
A job description helps a business in understanding what the needs are of a particular position. What are the functional responsibilities and skills required in the position? How will you know what a reasonable amount of pay should be if you don’t have some sort of understanding of the duties? How would you classify the role? Who would the person report to and who would be responsible to manage the incumbent? For that matter, how will you hire someone into a position that has no description? How would you construct a set of interview questions that would be relevant to the role?
A job description is valuable for the employee as well. If you are going to measure my performance, what standards will I be measured by? How will I know what is required of me if there is no description of what it is I am supposed to do? I’d like to know what to expect and I don’t believe I could know that without understanding the job I’m required to do based on a set of skills, knowledge and ability.
Job descriptions can also be helpful in identifying an organizational flow between positions.
So, how does the job description relate to the interview?
Part of that question has already been answered; but I’d like to give you more of an answer. When you develop interview questions, you want to be sure that you are able to hire the ‘right person’ with the ‘right skills and attitude’. If you define what that looks like in your job description, it will of course be easier to develop questions that will bring that out in the interview.
Take the actual skill set, list of responsibilities and duties, and think about the best fit for that role. The best fit would be determined by how you would like to see the position managed. If, for example, the role is one in which there will be frequent customer contact; one of the things you should be looking for in your line of questioning, is how this person gets along with others. How do they like working with the public? What do they do with a difficult customer? What is their communication style?
Learn as much as you can about the parts of your position that the candidate would enjoy based on his or her past experience. How does their past experience tie into the job you are currently offering? Again, how would you know that without a job description?
I have heard the argument from some that having job descriptions can create responses such as, “It’s not in my job description”; however, I beg to differ. If you treat your employees well and with respect – and they are clear on what their responsibilities are – and recognized for what they do well – I doubt you will ever hear those words.
Another argument I have heard is that they take too much work and have to be updated all the time.
Well, to this I would say; get the employee who is doing the job to assist you in the task of updating. Look at the job description on an annual basis. It may even help the organization in seeing where some growth opportunities could be. The employee will no doubt be happy to be involved in the process.
Hiring the right people is a crucial part of running a successful business. I challenge those who do not think a job description will assist in the hiring process to answer how they will find the right fit without a job description.
Take the time, create a job description; and hire right!
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